Known as an art curator dedicated to community building and engaging audiences across generations from every walk of life, Michael Rooks joined the High Museum of Art as Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art in January 2010. In addition to his responsibilities at the High, Rooks served as Commissioner and co-curator of the U.S. Pavilion at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, in 2010 and is an independent art writer.
Prior to joining the High, Rooks held curatorial positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA); The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu; and the Honolulu Academy of Arts. At MCA, Rooks curated several group exhibitions and solo projects in addition to major retrospective exhibitions of work by Roy Lichtenstein and H. C. Westermann, for which he co-authored Westermann’s catalogue raisonné. As curator at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Rooks curated more than fifteen exhibitions, including projects by Michael Lin, Paul Morrison, and Yoshitomo Nara—introducing audiences in Hawaii to a new generation of international contemporary art.
His exhibitions at the High include KAWS: DOWN TIME, Alex Katz, This Is Now, and two historical survey exhibitions in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Picasso to Warhol: Fourteen Modern Masters and Fast Forward: Modern Moments, 1913–2013.